Questions for Littles: According to v11, why would it be hard to explain to them about Melchizedek? What do they need someone to teach them again (v12)? What kind of food do they need? What does v13 say about someone who is unskilled in the word of righteousness? What is a mature Christian trained by exercise to distinguish about his food (v14)?In the Scripture for the sermon this week, the preacher/writer to the Hebrews was frustrated. He wanted to go onto his next sermon point, but he won’t be able to until the beginning of chapter 7. Why can’t he? Because his audience “have become dull of hearing” and “have come to need milk and not solid food.”
This is a stern warning to us: although Christ will surely finish His sanctifying work in believers, sometimes their spiritual “growth” goes in the wrong direction. Those who have been ready hearers can become dull hearers. Those who were ready for solid food can fall out of practice, lose their skill, and need to return to milk.
So, how do we watch against falling into the same predicament? First, we follow the instruction already given to us from the middle of chapter 3 to the middle of chapter 4: come to Lord’s Day preaching with soft hearts. Respond to the Word. Let it cut you. Let it expose you. And then make heart and life adjustments, since this is Jesus’ plan for bringing you at last safely into His rest. Do not be “dull of hearing” (v11).
Second, take an interest in growth not only for yourself but for others in the church. v12 says that they should all have been learning with the purpose of helping others learn too. Instead, they’re in a position where they need to be takers, rather than givers.
Third, develop skill in handling the Word in a way that leads to righteousness. This is the “adjustments” idea that we were talking about above. If the Word is being handled properly, we will be directed to trust in Jesus for our righteous standing and to obey Jesus for our righteous living.
This skill comes by practice, by exercise (v14). By recognizing whom the teaching is pointing us to trust in. If it’s pointing us to trust in Christ it’s good; if it’s leading us to trust in ourselves, it’s evil. If it leads us to obey Christ’s commandments, it’s good; if it leads us to obey our own impulses, it’s evil.
Dear Christian, whether to preaching or to personal Bible study, let us come with ready hearts, for both our own good and others’; and, let us seek to be led to trust in Christ alone, and to live by obedience to Christ’s commands!
What specific activities in your life does this passage apply to? How does it tell you to do them?Suggested Songs: ARP19B “The Lord’s Most Perfect Law” or HB255 “O Come, My People, to My Law”